VIENTO DE AGUA
Building its music from the native forms of Puerto Rico but transcending provincialism, New York's Viento de Agua is the ideal modern salsa group. On its debut, De Puerto Rico al Mundo (Agogo/Qbadisc), the group makes effortless connections, mixing various Latin styles and playing the blend with a sharp contemporary edge. All of the songs on the young group's debut are either bomba, the Puerto Rican equivalent of the voice-and-percussion dominated African rumba, or plena, a more lyrical, Spanish-flavored style that was originally employed to tell stories and spread news. But in its quest to keep the dance floor occupied, it adds some rock flavor on "Rockeros Muertos," which features a searing guitar solo by guest Marc Ribot; borrows the propulsive songo groove of Cuba's Los Van Van on "La Reina Mia"; and juggles horn charts and accordion on "Cucu," which also boasts a burning sax solo by David Sanchez. Lead vocalist Hector "Tito" Matos and four generations of percussionists form the 12-piece ensemble's soulful heart; Waldo Chavez's funky electric bass and a four-member brass section give it a nice ass and a pretty face, respectively. The group provides the music for Asi Se Baila un Son, a dance piece by Merian Soto (see Critic's Choice in Section Two), on Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 4 PM and 8 PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago; 312-397-4010. All but the final Sunday show were sold-out at press time. The band will also host a two-hour open jam session Saturday at 1 PM at the Pedro Albizu Campos Museum of Puerto Rican History and Culture, 2739 W. Division; 312-397-4010 or 312-342-8023.